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As You Like It (Cambridge School Shakespeare)
ISBN 0521666368 / 9780521666367 / 0-521-66636-8
Publisher Cambridge University Press
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As You Like It has long been admired as one of Shakespeare's most exuberant early comedies, complete with one of the Bard's funniest and toughest heroines, Rosalind. Based on Thomas Lodge's Elizabethan novel Rosalynde, As You Like It follows the discontented Orlando as he is exiled from the tyrannical French court of Duke Frederick. By chance Frederick also banishes Rosalind, daughter of the usurped Duke Senior. The play then moves to the Forest of Arden, where chaos and misrule ensue, as Rosalind cross dresses "all points like a man", disguised as the saucy Ganymede and encourages the naive Orlando to "woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humour". Meanwhile her clown Touchstone causes hilarity and havoc amongst the exiled lords and the pastoral inhabitants of the forest. The play concludes with Rosalind's extraordinary "unmasking" Epilogue addressed to the audience, where she offers to "kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me".
As You Like It remains one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, yet it is also appreciated by critics for its complex exploration of cross dressing and sexual politics, and its interest in relations between the country and the city. --Jerry Brotton [via]